MILAN – What has happened near the German island of Amrum is almost like a movie plot. After its extremely long journey, a pensioner by the name of Marianne Winkler has rediscovered a message in a bottle which has been drifting in the sea for over a century. After catching a glimpse of a note asking for the bottle to be broken and also being encouraged by her husband, this lady decided to smash it and see what was inside. "Horst tried to get the message out without breaking the bottle – said Mrs. Winkler – but it was impossible. Therefore, we had to do what was asked".
by editorial staff
A special message
The slip of paper contained a message written in English, German and Dutch with the request to note the place and date of its discovery and send everything to the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth, UK. As a token reward, the first person to perform this simple action would receive a shilling. The Winklers followed the instructions, sending the package to Plymouth, much to the surprise of the Director of Communications at MBA, Guy Baker: "You can imagine our amazement when we opened it”. The recovered bottle was one of a batch of over 1000 bottles consigned to the waters of the North Sea between 1904 and 1906 as part of a study on currents. “Over those years, many bottles were found in fishing nets; others ended up on beaches and many have never been seen again. In each case, the discoveries were made within a few months. Certainly not decades”.
A debt paid
The MBA, to honour their pledge, have sent the Winklers a shilling. Now, it is just a question of waiting for the verdict of the Guinness Book of World Records, which will have to verify that the message reaching Amrum is the oldest ever to have been trusted to the waves. The current title is held by a bottle which was out at sea for 99 years - a unique story which has changed the lives of this couple; unwittingly catapulting them right into the middle of a movie-style drama.